Letters: Fair and equitable?

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Last October I purchased a new home in the new Heartland Community with the intention of putting a pool in my backyard once I was settled. On March 20, I went into contract with Mark Chambers of Chambers Pools. Within two days of signing the contract Mark was told by Senior Planner Kirk Skierski that the plans were unacceptable based on a City Ordinance that does not allow more than 50 percent of an individual’s property to be used, therefore, not allowing homeowners in my community to build anything in their backyards other than planting vegetation.

In a letter to City Manager Trepa, Mayor Wade and all the City Council Members I posed the following questions:
1. When I put down my deposit to purchase my home back in November 2020, why did the builders offer to build pergolas that covered approximately 50 percent of the backyards when this was a violation of the Lot Coverage Ordinance?
2. When talking to the builder’s sales representative we were told about different pools companies and in fact, there were even pool company brochures in the business office. Why weren’t we ever informed about the City Ordinance and the limitations it would put on designing our backyard when in fact, we were encouraged to do just the opposite?
3. Why are there at least four homeowners within a three block area of my home who currently have pools built in their backyards with pergolas that are no larger than my lot?
4.Before signing my contract I was told that the park on Taylor Street was going to include a water feature that has since been “put on the back burner” because so many homeowners in the new communities had built pools.

I don’t understand how the Planning Department and Planning Commission allowed these homes to be built without their due diligence in making sure the builders were following the City Ordinances. How did these new homes pass inspections when additions were made to backyards?

It appears that the City Council has arbitrarily chosen my home and me to take a stand on this ordinance by no longer allowing anyone in these new communities to install a pool or any other improvements to our backyards other than vegetation.

It has now been more than a month since Mark submitted the permit and the weather has been warming up so for Mark, other pool builders and myself, I’m hoping the City Council will amend this ordinance and bring it into the 21st Century and make it fair and equitable for all.

I love my home and living in Winters, but want to make it more enjoyable for my family and friends. How can I tell my two granddaughters that they don’t get the pool that Grandma promised?

Sue Davis

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  1. Pergolas do not make the ground impenetrable.

    I believe the 50% requirement is for permeability.

    So you can not concrete over your whole lot, but you can build elevated structures that don’t affect the lots ability to take water.

    I believe this was talked about when the planning commission considered the lot sizes.

    It is not that you can’t use all of your lot, but just not make it impermeable.

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